My Face in the Mirror

 

It’s been a long time since I’ve looked at myself in the mirror.

So when I stumble upon one in the corner of an abandoned building, I duck my head to avoid it. My heart races at the near glimpse of what I’ve become. I’m alone. No one is on this side of the building. I haven’t heard a rumble or voices in quite a while. As I search the room, I feel the mirror watching me like it’s eyes are drilling into my back. The room is grungy like everything else in the building. The sun comes out from behind a cloud and fills the room with light. I glimpse up at the mirror and see a streak of pale skin and two eyes, scared. But even while I’m afraid of what I’ll see, I’m curious. It’s like a question that needs an answer and now is a safe time, with out Syl or Ben’s reactions as I face my disfigurement face on.

I swallow and close my eyes and line myself up with the mirror on the far wall. Each step I take is deliberate and slow. I glance up to soak myself up one drop at a time. I clutch my arms around my chest as if I’m cold. My legs move stiffly but not with cold. The cold weather is a long way off. It’s the weight of emotion and fear that clutches at my muscles. I sway enough to step occasionally out of the direct path of the mirror. It’s dirty enough that I can’t make out my features, but I see the red streak that runs down the side of my face and onto my throat. I press forward locking eyes with myself. I will myself strength in that moment. I use my oversized plaid shirtsleeve to rub the layer of dust off the mirror. I pause, staring at the red circles on the back of my hand. The burns I have to remind me of my face that I avoid looking at. I see pity and repulsion reflected back in everyone’s face that I look at, so I’ve always assumed I didn’t need to look at myself. I already knew. I let my hand slide across the glass.

I see my nose that pulls to one side a little like melted wax and my lips look like their laying on a pillow of mottled skin, but my lips they seem oddly perfect. They look to be a few shades lighter than the red burns on the left side of my face. A few pale scars stretch out past the invisible line that separates my bad side from my good. My hand shielded my eyes thankfully. So while part of my left eyebrow is missing, my eyes shine unmarred, a brilliant contrast to the permanent pucker and stretches of my face. I release a shaky breath from my lungs and close my eyes. It really isn’t as bad as it used to be. In many ways I imagined much worse. I open my eyes and examine my bare face and the twists in my skin. It’s still hard to accept that this is me, because inside I remember the other me—the me from before. I never thought she was beautiful. I thought she was adequate. What I wouldn’t do to have her back. Tears burn at my eyes and I try to blink them back but they’ve already blurred my reflection and so I let them fall down the twists of my skin where it used to be smooth.

I used “twist” as my writing prompt today. Pick a prompt and write.

About the author

Carley Hibbert

I just finished writing my first novel The Villain's Assistant. I'm preparing to submit it to an interested publisher.

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